How to avoid sickness when you ride the rails (or the bus)
If you commute on the cramped trains or buses of Metra or the Chicago Transit Authority, you’re particularly susceptible to the flu virus. It’s time to take some extra precautions.
Crowding is a definite risk factor in the spread of influenza, says Dr. James Malow, chair of Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center’s department of internal medicine in Chicago.
Here are his suggestions for avoiding the bug:
- Get a flu shot! Whether you commute or not, the flu shot remains the most effective means to prevent influenza. It’s not too late to get your shot.
- Stay home! If you’re sick with flu-like symptoms—coughing, fever and muscle aches, don’t put your fellow commuters and office mates at risk! Don’t return to work until you are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprophen, etc.)
- Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow to avoid contaminating your hands and spreading the germs when you touch a common surface, like a metal pole, handrail or a seat.
- Wash your hands often using an alcohol-based hand gel or soap and water.
- Avoid touching your mouth and nose, as this is a common means of spreading germs.
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